Northamptonshire ACRE is a countywide, independent registered charity (no. 1080038) working with rural communities in the county to improve their quality of life, especially the disadvantaged. By working with local communities, the charity aims to reduce rural isolation and vulnerability and make life more affordable for those living in rural areas by delivering improved services for these communities.
The charity provides advice and support on any topic pertaining to rural life. Services offered include help with all forms of community planning especially neighbourhood plans; how to set up a community shop, pub or transport scheme; advice on energy efficiency models and the ending of fuel poverty through a bulk oil buying scheme; guidance to village halls from a dedicated Community Buildings Advisor; a Big Lottery funded Rural Wellbeing Service that visits villages across the county with an information bus offering advice and signposted support to older people on all topics relating to their health and wellbeing; development of Good Neighbour Schemes in villages enabling local people to come together and provide assistance with low level tasks for other residents in their area who may be struggling. Through a membership scheme, Parish Councils are kept up to date with details of any new legislation or issues that may affect them and Northamptonshire ACRE will raise awareness of local issues and campaigns on their behalf.
Northamptonshire ACRE operates out of the Hunsbury Hill Centre, a Grade II listed farmstead, on the western outskirts of Northampton, very near to junction 15A of the M1. Their trading arm, the Barns at Hunsbury Hill, runs weddings, business and social events at the centre, which helps to bring in additional funding to the charity, enabling them to move away from solely relying on grant funding. They are one of 38 Rural Community Councils working across England, which make up the ACRE network. Each member of the network receives funding from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to deliver services to rural communities against a number of key priorities set out by Defra.